Stung by a hung jury last year, prosecutors are pushing to widen the scope of Bill Cosby’s looming retrial to spotlight allegations he is one of the biggest serial predators in a Hollywood suddenly aware of sexual misconduct in the #MeToo era, the Associated Press reports. The 80-year-old Cosby is back in a suburban Philadelphia courtroom as his lawyers try to convince a judge to block some of his dozens of accusers from testifying against him at his April 2 retrial. Prosecutors want as many as 19 of Cosby’s accusers to take the stand as they attempt to show the comedian had a long history of drugging and attacking women. They are trying to insulate the accuser in his one criminal case, Andrea Constand, from what a prosecutor called the defense’s “inevitable attacks” on her credibility.
Cosby’s lawyers have argued that some of the aspiring actresses, flight attendants and other women the prosecution wants to call have allegations dating to the 1960s that are impossible to defend against. Some witnesses are dead, memories are shot and evidence has been lost, the lawyers argued. Prosecutors made their case on Monday for allowing the women, including model Janice Dickinson, to testify. Allowing the women to take the stand would show jurors that Cosby “systematically engaged in a signature pattern of providing an intoxicant to his young female victim and then sexually assaulting her when she became incapacitated,” Assistant District Attorney Adrienne Jappe argued. Judge Steven O’Neill allowed just one other accuser to take the stand at Cosby’s first trial last year, barring any mention of about 60 others who have come forward to accuse Cosby in recent years. Cosby says the encounter with Constand was consensual.